That time Gillette kidnapped me for a secret Avengers event
I have no idea what I’m doing here.
I am standing in the baggage claim of Boston airport, looking for my ride. I have left the balmy spring embrace of the South for the stubborn winter of Massachusetts on the promise of seeing “something cool.” Outside the snow taunts “Cool enough for you?”
Almost a month ago, Gillette invited me (and a handful of other entertainment journalists) to a “top secret event at Gillette’s World Shave Headquarters” featuring, they promised, a “new collaboration with Stark Industries.” Crazy hero fangirl that I am, I jumped at the chance.
In the lead-up to the event, I get nothing but radio silence from the organizers. It is so top secret, I was warned, that no one can know what the surprise is until we’re on the ground. This is the kind of security usually reserved for crime scenes visited by Mulder and Scully. No one will confirm or deny if celebrities will be present, nor what Gillette will unveil, or how. Standing alone in a bustling luggage claim, I begin to feel this is like a blind date you agreed to, but only realized later you probably should’ve asked for more information first so you don’t end up as a statistic.
Image Credit: Marvel/Gillette
Eventually the car pulls up. The driver emerges, looking like a Mafia chauffeur with his shaved head and linebacker width, and I half wonder if I’m about to be black-bagged and taken to a secret location. I’m hustled into the SUV and taken to the hotel where I will sit and wonder when all will be revealed.
I receive an itinerary. Clues? I learn the big day will be broken down into “EVENT,” followed by “LUNCH,” and “TOUR.” Is it a tour of the ice baths where our bodies will be stored until a donor match can be found? Only one way to find out!
We arrive at Gillette’s World Shave Headquarters to a flurry of activity. Whatever is happening is a bigger deal than I first anticipated. One of the publicists tells me media has come from all over the world — China, Mexico, Brazil — for this announcement. Despite our cultural differences, every single person takes a selfie with the Iron Man statue.
Image Credit: Donna Dickens
There’s a display case of Avengers artifacts, from Thor’s hammer to Captain America’s shield. In what is either a gross oversight or an adorable assumption about journalists’ maturity level, there is no security guard watching the case. My mind races about the selfie possibilities as I gaze upon these artifacts of nerd history.
Finally, the hour arrives and we are herded in front of a stage into a little corral, fenced in with in-depth blueprints of fictional Gillette razors that utilize Stark Industries technology. A hush descends as a man in lab coat walks on stage. A lab coat is a sure sign of authority and must be respected. It is known.
Stark Industries, we are informed, and Tony Stark’s men have been hard at work creating razors that will amazingly work for both the average Joe and meta-humans alike. The pitch culminates with a tongue-in-cheek commercial that makes me long for a Thor razor (that isn’t an at-home electrolysis system in disguise).
While the razors sadly do not exist, the Fusion ProGlide with FlexBall Technology they’re based on, I learn, certainly does. Avengers crossover victory!
The last strains of dramatic music die down and suddenly, on stage, a wild Stan Lee appears! He uses “Sardonic Wit.” It’s super effective! A stunned murmur fills the crowd. Suddenly, all the vague promises of a “special guest” congeal as we surge forward. Stan Lee, consummate professional, smiles and waves. Holding a giant replica of the Hulk razor, Mr. Lee jokes “The things I’ll do for free razors,” as the Gillette spokesman points out the benefits of their product.
One day I will be jaded enough to not be blown away that every time we see a photo of a celebrity like this:
Image Credit: Donna Dickens
They’re looking at this:
Image Credit: Donna Dickens
Today is not that day.
Eventually Stan Lee must go. As he exits the stage, he trips over a cord. I think “This is it. This is moment when we lose Stan Lee, before my eyes,” but no! The 92 year old icon hops off the stage and recovers with more grace than I could ever hope for. Perhaps Stan Lee is secretly a superhero.
By the time I am ushered backstage to interview him (Go HERE to read the whole thing!), I forget to ask. But I do remember to ask him to take a Vine. Not pictured: Me trying to explain what a Vine is to comic book legend Stan Lee.
The rest of the day is a blur Gillette Brand™ activities. Picture a school field trip, but with better craft services. I consume no less than three cake pops and innumerable tiny dessert triangles before a tour of Gillette’s production facility. Our guide tells us interesting factoids, like how this factory can produce 1 million blades a day, but my attention is elsewhere. Upon entering the production floor, we were cautioned to watch out for the robots. They will not stop, and they are everywhere. Giant yellow pallets with CPU brains housed in Darth Vader-esque helmets putter along, unaware of the mammalian gawkers. I momentarily wish for the skills to reprogram one to follow me home. I also get to step inside a 3-D simulation of a Gillette razor wire frame wearing horn-rimmed 3-D glasses. For what purpose, you ask? Because the future. I absolutely do not try to steal the horn-rimmed glasses. I am absolutely not thwarted by an employee.
The day winds down with complimentary shaves for the men. I do not ask if they’ll shave my legs because I am a professional. I do ask Gillette to remember that ladies like superhero-themed razors, too. Maybe a Black Widow Venus with the next film?
As I pile into the car to head to the airport, I am content in the knowledge that no, Gillette is not actually a front for black market organs. They can kidnap me anytime.